Wednesday, October 6, 2010


We are pleased to present to you ETRFI in 2010! It is a joy to share news of our current activities and developments over the past 44 years... We look forward to keeping in touch with you on a much more regular basis!

Feel free to browse this blog site and don't forget that is still up and running - for lectures on-line, articles of interest and much more.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Excerpt from Immanuel #6 Spring 1976

The Slave of Two Masters

by Prof. Shmuel Safrai and Prof. David Flusser

There are two roots of Jesus's teaching: his basic ethical doctrines stem from the Pharisaic stock, but very often we find Essene influence in his doctrines, primarily in the field of social approach. Jesus's high appreciation of poverty and his concept that wealth is a religious danger can be recognized as being Essene in origin: even the terminology in which he expresses those ideas appears in the Essene Dead Sea Scrolls.1 When he takes over Essene motifs, he blends them together with rabbinic teachings in one indivisible unity. An outstanding example of such a procedure is Jesus's saying about the slave of two masters (Mt. 6:24, Lk. 16:13): "No servant can be the slave of two masters; for either he will hate the first and love the second, or he will be devoted to the first and think nothing of the second. You cannot serve God and mammon."

Certain scholars have discovered that the phrase "the servant of two masters" appears also in rabbinic sources.2 Our task will be to clarify the rabbinic background of the whole logion and its meaning. The source of the parallel rabbinic saying is a sage from the 3rd century CE, Rabbi Shimeon ben Pazzi. Rabbi Shimeon said: "...'And the slave is free from his master' (Job 3:19). Man, while he lives, is the slave of two masters:3 the slave of his Creator and the slave of his inclination. When he does the will of his Creator, he angers his inclination, and when he does the will of his inclination, he angers his Creator. When he dies, he is freed, a slave free from his master!"4

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